Intriguing western one reeler makes us curious about Broncho Bill Anderson.
The body of his enormous output is lost or inaccessible but in isolation this one reeler is impressive. It has the religious themes that make the films of William S. Hart or Sam Peckinpah intrigue and unexpected plot twists like Eames taking him out with the long gun. There are early and quite presentable versions of western business, like the chase that diverts through the river bed.
On top of this, Anderson proves to be a better actor than Hart, Tom Mix or his other contemporaries. The sustained take of him delivering a sermon for which there is no sound and no inset title is a considerable set piece.
These little films are fascinating and we can only regret that they are not the early stage of a major career. Anderson proved uneasy about offering himself in sustained characters. He shows up late in his final two reeler SHOOTIN' MAD, when his build had thickened and his acting become broader.
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